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Dear Friend, Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the United States Congress. In Nebraska we have a longstanding commitment to preserve the vibrancy of our communities, to build a resilient economy, and to sustain the storied traditions that continually renew our responsibility to each other. As we celebrate 150 years of statehood, we are proud that Nebraska remains a model for our entire country in the perennial values we hold dear: hard work, perseverance, family life, faith life, and civility. Among the greatest problems in our society is that so many persons feel forgotten, increasingly marginalized by disinterested power centers. Our system is founded on the belief that political power is derived from each person’s dignity and their right to thoughtfully engage our government. This Year End Report is prepared for you to review the work of my offices in Washington, D.C., and in Nebraska. It contains an overview of policy issues, including veterans affairs, defense, agricultural initiatives, health care, and small business, as well as events across the district. I invite you to review the links, videos, and statements throughout the Report. Sincerely,


Committee Assignments Work in Congress is structured around committee and subcommittee assignments. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have frontline responsibility for expenditures of the U.S. government. This responsibility continues to be extremely challenging, as we seek to modernize government while funding the necessary public policies for America’s well-being and safety. I serve on three Appropriations subcommittees. The Energy and Water Subcommittee covers issues as diverse as flood control, energy development, and nuclear security. This is particularly important since the First Congressional District is home to the Strategic Command (US STRATCOM) and Offutt Air Force Base.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations

I also serve on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, which ensures that our military infrastructure is appropriately maintained and allocated and our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned. My other assignment is State and Foreign Operations, which handles issues related to diplomacy and sustainable economic development, areas that are increasingly critical to achieving strategic national security and foreign policy objectives. Other initiatives are organized around what is called a caucus structure. I am co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus (ICC), Co-chair of the Religious Minorities in Middle East Caucus, the Nuclear Security Working Group, the European Study Group, among others.

Ambassador Mark Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development

Protecting America I often use the phrase “Foreign Policy Realism” to describe how the United States should best exercise its strength and authority in international affairs. In each case, what’s needed is a consistent, determined sequence of actions that neither commits us to a long-term dynamic that constantly puts our young people in harm’s way, nor a dynamic where we create a vacuum allowing those who destroy to move in. The responsibility is international in scope, and not America’s alone.

The risks are rising. Most of us think of war as traditionally fought with tanks, aircraft, ships, and infantry. Even in the age of electronic warfare and asymmetrical terror threats—such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices)—most of us see our defense through a conventional lens. Warfare is changing fast, with the miniaturization of nuclear weapons, drones, and other technologies. Small nuclear warheads can already be placed onto faster, lighter intercontinental ballistic missiles from nimble, mobile launchers that are difficult to detect. Imagine new underwater weapons systems that emerge without warning. It is not unfathomable that we can see self-replicating nanobots the size of mosquitoes capable of carrying poison that could be used for mass destruction. We are entering an era that is unprecedented and unpredictable, born from the very technologies that have heretofore ensured our survival.

National Defense Authorization Act Upon a review of one of our major strategic assets, I was surprised, frankly, by the age of the equipment. Then something caught my eye. Among the various sophisticated components, I saw a roll of duct tape. With a bit of a smile, I said to the crewman, “Really? The handyman’s secret weapon, even here?” Here’s the problem. According to our military leadership, our armed forces are “outranged, outgunned, outdated.” Only three of our 58 brigade combat teams are ready to “fight tonight.” More than half of all Naval aircraft is grounded awaiting needed parts or maintenance. The average U.S. Air Force aircraft is 27 years old. This all means, per General Daniel Allyn, Army Vice Chief of Staff, that “we will be too late to need,” risking “excessive casualties to civilians and to our forces who are already forward stationed.” Fortunately, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate passed The National Defense Authorization Act, which the President then signed into law, to rebuild our worn-out military by increasing naval strength, better equipping ground forces, and improving aviation readiness. The bill also dramatically improves military infrastructure, from barracks to hospitals to hangars to runways. Given North Korea and other threats, missile defense is prioritized. Our troops will get a raise. And the Pentagon, for the first time, will be audited to ensure appropriate use of dollars.

Nebraska National Guard, Washington, D.C.

Nuclear Security This year, North Korea continued an ominous march toward mastering the technology of nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles that carry them. The current debate rightfully centers on international economic leverage and military projection to deter “The Hermit Kingdom.” For economic leverage to be successful, China is the key. In a recent conversation with the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., he too expressed his country’s frustration with North Korea, while also pointing out that China has quite a bit to lose if the situation deteriorates further. China has played a double game with us, but importantly, just joined with us and Russia for more aggressive punitive economic measures. In a lengthy meeting with Thae Yong-ho, a defector from North Korea who had served as the former Deputy Ambassador at North Korea’s British Embassy, he confirmed a number of suspicions I had, with new emphasis.

Nuclear Security Working Group with Secretary Rick Perry

Please know that I asked his permission to share the following. As Yong-ho stated, Kim Jongun would not preemptively attack, but he would lash out if cornered. Kim likes his luxuries. Kim also believes that Trump is bluffing. Russia, elements in Ukraine, and Iran have all helped North Korea. Finally, I asked him pointedly, why did you abandon your beliefs? He said, because he watched Kim kill his own family and North Korea’s long-time leaders. And his son saw freedom and democracy and could not face giving them up. The situation with North Korea has no quick or easy answers. And it is dangerous. In light of this threat and many others, the Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group, which I founded and co-chair, continues to advance the dialogue and ideas necessary to counter existential threats. The Working Group engages with high-ranking officials responsible for America’s nuclear security enterprise.

Israeli-palestinian peace fund Secretary of Defense Mattis once said, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately.� Soft power works in interdependence with hard power. This year, I introduced an important bipartisan initiative in the House of Representatives called the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Fund. The legislation invites the international community of responsible nations to partner with Israelis and Palestinians in the economic, cultural, and educational sectors to promote purposeful projects. It is my hope that such an effort will build the necessary foundations of trust for an authentic and sustainable peace.

Defeating ISIS and Protecting Religious Minorities

Dark theology and violent ideology has been set back by a surge of U.S. military support and training. In the Middle East, our goal should be to create stability for all people in the region, solidify gains in Iraq while driving ISIS from its remaining territorial strongholds in Syria, elevating the conditions for a negotiated settlement in the shattered country, and assuring the right of refugees to return to their ancestral homelands. State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee

We have witnessed ISIS’ attempt to exterminate Christians, Yazidis, and other minority groups from the territory they seize. Innocent Muslims have suffered in even greater numbers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

One option to help persecuted communities is to create “interim zones of stability,� so that those who have been forced to flee can remain proximate to their ancestral homelands, with the hope of one day returning to them in safety. Fortunately, there is a significant, constructive development in the situation. Working with Vice President Pence, we are now focused on a new policy that will assist peoples who have endured genocide. This is an historic shift that has already given hope to those who have struggled to survive.

Vice President Pence and Middle East Leaders

Last fall, I introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives encouraging the Iraqi government to follow its own 2014 initiative to establish a province in the Nineveh Plain, a once-rich tapestry of ethnic and religious stability in the northern part of that war-torn country, where religiously diverse communities once lived in a spirit of general pluralism. Safe zones such as this provide a model for Syria and elsewhere in the region.

Our Intern Nibras

The Yazidi Community in Lincoln Came Together in Solemn Remembrance of What Their People Have Endured

Honoring Our Veterans Americans have historically united around an enduring principle: our veterans deserve our unwavering respect, love, and gratitude. By their example of service, they stand dutifully above any division and discord—beyond politics—to that which is lasting and good. Our work for veterans is never complete, but we’ve made strong progress this year. Through a transformative public-private partnership, we are starting a new way of providing veterans the help they deserve. In Omaha, a new ambulatory care center will bring new infrastructure, innovation, and enhanced technology to health care in order to blow past government delay and cost overruns. A new clinic site will be selected soon in Lincoln with the potential to deliver advanced services, and an additional effort is underway to preserve and redevelop the beautiful historic structures on the Veterans’ Campus.

Iwo Jima Memorial

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE This year, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee passed an $88.8 billion appropriations bill. This bill provided for the highest level of funding ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); the direct health care component received the highest percentage increase of any portion of the appropriations process. There was an important emphasis on suicide prevention, behavioral health, and medical research. Additionally, the bill helps rebuild our armed forces, increasing funding by 25% for construction of critical military infrastructure and for keeping our troops healthy. This year, the House of Representatives passed thirty-eight bills to help veterans; ten were signed into law. Of these bills, The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 provides for a necessary reform of the VA, empowering the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hold VA employees accountable by strengthening whistleblower protections. Other bills increased veterans’ access to health care and quality VA facilities, while also supporting the formation of veteran-owned small businesses. As the Vice-Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, I frequently dialogued with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin on veterans’ issues. One major structural change to the VA is the ongoing integration of electronic health records. I invite you to view our exchanges below:

Vietnam Honor Flight It was a privilege to participate in the Nebraska Honor Flight Final Mission for Vietnam Veterans. Thank you to the 650 Nebraska veterans who traveled to Washington and to all Vietnam veterans for your courageous service. Joining colleagues and friends at the Iwo Jima Memorial, it was wonderful to give a long-awaited “Welcome Home.� Thank you to everyone involved in planning this extraordinary initiative, especially Bill and Evonne Williams.

memorial day All across Nebraska, communities, churches, and civic organizations continually gather to memorialize the fallen heroes of battle who gave us the opportunity to remain good, trustworthy, and free as a nation. The formal remembrance of our nation’s war dead is more than nostalgic tradition.

Memorial Day is one precious moment when we unite in deep gratitude for those who died in service. That a person would lay down his life for his friends—for another—demands that we turn our thoughts to the noblest of human ideals; and when we gather to say thank you, we affirm our common bonds as a people.

Elmwood, Nebraska Cemetery

Beyond this special day, perhaps the greatest memorial we can offer is to reignite a love of country, responsibility, decency and commitment to the fragile gift of liberty. This past Memorial Day, I was honored to be invited by my friends at the American Legion to speak at Elmwood Cemetery. It was a time of reflection, honoring those who gave everything in service to our nation. We all know of the great battles and heroic sacrifices at places like Bunker Hill, Omaha Beach, Khe Sanh, and Fallujah. What we do not know are the untold stories, witnessed by no one, of Americans who fought to the death to preserve our country. We also do not know the untold stories of the many who left their families and quietly performed their duty, with no questions asked or demands made. The veterans who maintained tanks and aircraft, cooked, computed, cleaned, and drove. And then came home. This past Memorial Day, we honored those who served before us and their willingness to serve for an ideal greater than the self.

Nebraska Fallen Heroes Dedication On Veterans Day, the community gave a special thanks to Gold Star mothers Joyce Peck and Marie Teresa MedranoNehls for their hard work in leading the creation of a monument to honor not only their children--Sgt. Patrick Hamburger and Master Sgt. Linda Tarango-Griess-but also all Nebraskans who have died in combat since September 11, 2001. As Joyce said, “Our children’s deaths are no more or less than anyone else’s lives.” Thank you, Joyce, thank you Marie Teresa, for your beautiful effort--because of the brave.

Bob Cerv Dedication A WWII Navy veteran, a professional baseball star for the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics, and the first University of Nebraska graduate to win a World Series ring, Bob Cerv is a reminder of what our state stands for: grit, perseverance, and humility. The legacy of his life will be forever remembered in his hometown of Weston, as a new marble monument was erected at a baseball field in his honor just a few houses from his childhood home. We gathered in July to not only celebrate the contributions Bob made to our country, but also to honor his wonderful community. Bob Cerv exemplifies how hard-working Nebraskans lead the way in building a better America.

Our Jobs, Our Economy

The most important sector for new job creation is small business; people working with their own hands, being creative, imaginative, entrepreneurial. Around half of Americans work in small business, but, until recently, we have been on an unfortunate downward trend. Washington can help with right-sizing the regulatory framework, revised tax policy, and health insurance fairness.

When a person is out of work, they are not able to reach the fullness of their potential. It not only brings them down, but it has broader societal effects. Creating the conditions for new jobs and a healthy economy goes a long way toward reestablishing hope, vibrancy, and community.

Inspecting the Produce

Discussing Manufacturing

The recently passed tax reform bill makes reasoned progress towards resolving a complex and convoluted code that has overburdened persons, families, and small businesses across our nation. The measure moves money back into the pockets of hardworking Americans, seeks to reignite Main Street entrepreneurial momentum, and revives the Made in America label. Some important points to note are the doubling of the child tax credit, the preservation of the adoption tax credit, enhancing the deductibility of medical expenses—of great concern to a number of seniors who contacted me—and preservation of the tuition waiver benefit for students.

It is clear many Americans are attempting to understand what tax reform means for them and the country. Some Nebraskans understandably question the lowering of the corporate tax rate and the effects on the deficit; the thinking is that the combination of the new regulatory framework and a simplified tax code repositions America’s economy for significantly enhanced revenue to the Treasury.

Community Meeting

A new economic vision has to reorient around the family, restore vibrancy in local communities, and re-empower working men and women to best provide for themselves and those under their care. While this legislation will not solve all of America’s problems, it is a policy reset that is important for our wellbeing.

Health Care Repair A friend of mine contacted me recently with a serious dilemma. He could no longer afford health insurance. I sympathized and walked through a number of less optimal options. It’s neither fair to him nor to many Nebraskans who continue to face serious struggles with everincreasing costs. Our current law has helped some and hurt others. We have to do better.

At the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I fully understand that change can cause anxiety. Many of those who receive a subsidy for their health care premiums -- often with preexisting illness -- fear losing what they have. This is why we worked with the Senate on a provision to protect low-income “near seniors” (those between 50 and 64 years of age) with preexisting illnesses by allowing them to keep their current benefit—if it is working for them. Others who have no subsidy are asking if they should buy insurance, or spend their money on basics like food or a mortgage. Some Nebraska families today are paying $30,000 or more annually for health insurance. In our state, health care costs for individuals covered under The Affordable Care Act rose over 50% in 2017 and will go up another 30% in 2018. In Nebraska, we now only have one health insurance provider for people who access health care through the health exchange. It is well known that attempts this year at health care reform failed. The initial bill was highly controversial and understandably subject to much criticism. The House of Representatives provided a “start” to find an alternative way to finance health care. Saying “no” to any change would lock us into a system with significant and worsening problems. It is important to note that the process undertaken in the House and Senate allowed certain important ideas to emerge.

University of Nebraska Medical Center Students

Health Care Advocates

Health Care Townhall; One of the First in the Nation

In one instance, we were pleased to work on the inclusion of a concept called “invisible risksharing.” This approach would keep premiums down and cover persons with preexisting illness at the same costs. The idea originated in Maine and has been extended to individuals in Minnesota and Alaska. Using this model, a person of sixty years of age was estimated to save about 40% on health premium costs. I believe Congress should quickly pivot to this type of policy consideration in the new year. A bipartisan group of Members of Congress have begun work to repair the broken system, particularly for those buying individual insurance. Several core ideas have emerged from our efforts: allowing persons to join together for lower group rates; new options for an affordable “catastrophic” health plan with an expansion of Health Savings Accounts; and direct federal funding for the invisible risk-sharing idea, as well as maintaining subsidies for individuals who want to keep their current insurance. Beyond health financing, we must also move to improve health care delivery and prevention to further bring down costs and improve outcomes. Our bipartisan group is also ready to champion ideas in this arena. My priorities remain the same: lower costs, improved health outcomes, and protection of vulnerable persons.

Conserving Nebraska With a deep connection to the land and our abundant natural resources, Nebraskans understand the importance of conservation and environmental protection. For years, Nebraska has been a pioneer in promoting collaborative partnerships with farmers and other landowners who want to achieve the goal of habitat preservation and recreational opportunity.


Bald Eagle Release at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center in Nebraska City

Recognizing the need for a proactive approach to protecting habitat and the many species that depend on it, I introduced The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bipartisan bill uses existing mineral and energy revenues from federal lands to fund state wildlife conservation and restoration programs. The bill will better enable the protection of unique places across the country.

By creating continuity of habitat for wildlife, and effectively integrating multiple-use opportunities, we are hoping to achieve a wiser, cost-effective governmental approach. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “State fish and wildlife agencies have identified roughly 8,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts in the United States, and the number of species petitioned for listing under The Endangered Species Act has increased by 1,000 percent in less than a decade.” When a species officially becomes “endangered,” it triggers a host of costly federal responses, many of which involve the court system, thereby tying up the political space for years and inhibiting beneficial uses of Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue the habitat for the community. By working constructively with landowners, we can prevent habitat and wildlife from getting to the cusp of being lost in the first place. This gentler, more holistic approach will help at-risk species before they require the expensive, restrictive “emergency room” measures required by The Endangered Species Act. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act could prove to be a powerful new tool to connect careful resource extraction with prudent resource recovery.

Bolt the Eagle, After Release

INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION Early this year, I was named a co-chair of the International Conservation Caucus (ICC), one of the largest bipartisan caucuses in Congress. The ICC works to ensure the sustainability of persons and wildlife, market innovation, as well as the proper stewardship of natural resources for the good of community. The ICC’s work is rooted in a practical approach to ecology: that habitat and sustainable economic benefit are interlinked with conservation. The ICC not only seeks to prevent the trafficking in wildlife, but also to create the conditions for stability in local governance, economies, and the flourishing of indigenous people.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Wildlife Conservation

On the Missouri River

I am also cosponsoring legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a program designed to help protect our nation’s natural resources. The LWCF has provided benefits to communities throughout Nebraska. I believe it is important to advocate for this program and I have the led an effort to increase funding for it during Appropriations Committee consideration of the FY18 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill.

renewable energy In November, the 10th Annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Lincoln attracted more than 325 individuals from across the country. This is an exciting period of creative innovation for renewables, leading to more consumer choices in energy along with greater savings and lower emissions. We must embrace new technologies as we build a more sustainable energy future. Nebraska can help lead the way. Nebraska’s advancements in biofuels, our abundant sunshine, and the research capabilities of our university system position us to help America become more energy indepedent. We also rank 4th in wind energy potential, but, at this point only 18th in wind energy utilization. Room to grow!

Solar Panels, Growing Nebraska Ag

Regarding national energy policy, I am also considering a new idea called the zero-emissions energy credit (ZEEC). The more we can do to stop waste and pollution through conservation and innovation gives us peace of mind in regard to the proper use of resources. The ZEEC concept would reward reduced emissions through a tax credit system. In this way, the government is not picking one technology over the other, or fighting over one regulation or another, but positively valuing the diminishing externality cost of pollution emissions.

Harvesting Our Agricultural Future

Nebraska’s strength, character, and tradition are found in the land. It is clearly the most defining element of who Nebraskans are as a people. Agriculture creates our habits of being, our culture, our economic largesse. The little-told story is that agriculture is also America’s strength. It is foundational to America’s economy and our relationships abroad. Feeding the world is something we take for granted because we do it so effectively. Twelve years ago, we averaged 154 bushels of corn per acre; today that number is 178 bushels. The need for a robust Farm Bill is clear to Nebraskans, who are so closely intertwined with agriculture. The 2018 Farm Bill presents an opportunity to enhance our state’s and our nation’s agricultural policies in ways that benefit producers, consumers, taxpayers, and the environment. As I have with previous farm bills, I would appreciate receiving your feedback and suggestions as we work to improve our current farm programs.

In early September, I participated with other members of the Nebraska congressional delegation in a Farm Bill Listening Session at the State Fair in Grand Island. I heard from producers in our diverse ag sectors about the importance of maintaining a strong safety net, including robust crop insurance. The growing trend in farm bill legislation is to provide enhanced risk management tools, such as Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage payments. Farmers also expressed the need to expand international trade opportunities. The challenge moving forward is to broaden our thinking from just expanding markets to creating healthy farm income. Low corn and soybean prices and higher input costs are parts of the challenge. But there are other drags on the equation, such as health insurance costs. You can buy fertilizer through your co-op, but you can’t buy health insurance. This is an unfair choke point inhibiting more solutions for farmers and small businesses who do not benefit from the risk-pool diversity of larger corporations. Washington seems to be waking up to this reality—admittedly, a bit late—but I am hopeful for a sensible bipartisan solution.

Listening Session at the State Fair

One of the exciting developments in agriculture is the growing interest among young people to pursue careers in farming and ranching. Expanding our ag family with forward-looking opportunities that add value to our commodity groups, augment specialty crops, and reconnect the farmer to the family and the urban to the rural will expand local economies and tap into the important growing trends of knowing your food and artisanal agriculture.


Earlier this year, I helped introduce The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act. This comprehensive bill is designed to assist new and aspiring farmers as they seek to access affordable farmland, build skills, manage risk, and enhance financial security. The legislation also provides a national strategy to empower the next generation of farmers through federal crop insurance and educational programs. It further supports dynamic opportunities for young Americans who want to lead transformational initiatives from urban agriculture to farm-to-table movements, as well as partnerships between retiring farmers and ranchers and the rising generation.

the local farms act Another area of agriculture that deserves support is local food production and marketing. I recently helped introduce The Local FARMS Act. The measure builds on the growing success of local and regional food systems. The bill expands opportunities for producers and provides consumers with more choices in the marketplace. Among its provisions, the bill would consolidate and streamline certain key local food programs and promote the purchase of local foods in schools.

the farm to school act In September, I introduced the bipartisan Farm to School Act to reauthorize and expand the United States Department of Agriculture’s popular Farm to School Grant Program, which creates a win-win-win for schools, students, and farmers. With this legislation, schools have more options to purchase fresh quality food from local agricultural producers. Students and teachers receive nutritious meal choices and beginning farmers and ranchers are given new market opportunities. The program also brings ag education into the classroom to inspire the next generation of producers. Building upon previous legislation, preschools, after-school programs, and summer food service sites are included.

Nebraska, America’s Best Kept Secret

Among the great Nebraska traditions is the morning coffee gathering. One such group calls itself the “Nothing Better to Do Club.” A member said to me, “Keep Nebraska a Secret.” It is tempting. I knew what he meant in a deeper sense. We have maintained the mystique of the Great Plains, the nobility of the family farm, and the vibrancy of our people, which together create the conditions for “The Good Life.”

My job is two-fold: to use my best judgment to make policy for the common good of America, while also making sure government meets your needs back home. Here are some highlights of our work back in the district.

open door meetings It is very gratifying for me to meet with Nebraskans on a one-on-one basis. These are excellent opportunities to hear directly from you, in person, about the issues that matter most. I am proud that here in Nebraska we can maintain a sense of decorum that allows us to discuss difficult topics.

community meetings Many Members of Congress have chosen not to hold open town hall meetings any longer. I refuse to believe that in Nebraska we cannot have a civil discussion, even if sometimes it is hard. This year we held a number of community meetings in Lincoln, Norfolk, Bellevue, Columbus, Fremont, and West Point.

International visitors Nebraska has a long tradition of hosting international students and dignitaries. I was pleased to host a Member of British Parliament this year, as well as the Ambassadors of Jordan and Malawi. During a television interview, the British Parliamentarian repeated the three most important words to any Nebraskan, “Go Big Red.” The Jordanian Ambassador was able to actually attend a Cornhusker football game, or “the match” as she called it. The King of Jordan is now sampling our sweet corn and is sending us 1000-year-old wheat seeds.

The Honorable Edward Sawerengera of Malawi

Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar

Member of British Parliament, Suella Fernandes

school visits

I was able to speak to students in a variety of elementary schools and high schools throughout the district. When I was young, I always enjoyed it when outside visitors came to school to discuss government and civics. I now make it a point to do the same. After leaving one fifth grade class, I was very moved by one student who walked me to my car and said, “You did a great job, Dad.�

native american tribes in nebraska In the summer of 2015, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services decertified the Indian Health Service hospital that provides support to the Native American tribes of Nebraska. We have worked intimately over the past 18 months with the leaders of each tribe to assure a robust continuity of care. Partnering with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Omaha and Winnebago, we are working for more sustainable health care outcomes for every tribe. Efforts are ongoing to recertify the hospital, develop more innovative ways to serve immediate health care needs, and build the foundations for a future of better health.

Ponca Tribal Chairman Larry Wright, Jr.

Chief standing bear We continue to recognize Ponca Chief Standing Bear’s remarkable life and achievement on behalf of his people. In April and May, many persons followed Standing Bear’s footsteps on the Ponca Remembrance Walk. Present-day Ponca elders began the trek from Niobrara to south of Beatrice, retracing an epic journey that set an initial marker for justice and the possibility of a more humane future for Native Americans and all people. In a beautiful ceremony before hundreds of Nebraskans, a statue to Chief Standing Bear was dedicated on the Centennial Mall in Lincoln. So many Nebraskans know the story of Standing Bear and the trial in which Native Americans for the first time were declared persons under the law.

At the conclusion of the two-day trial, Standing Bear raised his hand and said, “That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you will feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. God made us both.”

How Can We Help? help with federal agencies Should you need assistance navigating the federal bureaucracy, my office is here to help. This year alone, we helped resolve more than 550 individual cases for constituents dealing with matters of Medicare, Social Security, immigration, veterans affairs, farm programs, and other issues.

Speaking with Farmers near Humphrey, Nebraska

academy nominations Our nation’s service academies are elite institutions that train students to excel in academics and military affairs. This year, we had another dedicated group of young people who applied to serve our country. If you, or someone you know, is interested in applying to an academy, please contact my Lincoln office.

nebraska breakfast Each week your entire federal delegation hosts a breakfast for our visitors in Washington. If you’d like to attend, please contact my D.C. office. Our nation’s capital also offers a wide variety of historic landmarks and museums, making it an excellent place for Nebraskans to visit. If you are coming to Washington, we are happy to give you more information.

Internships From high school to college students, we had a number of very bright interns in both my D.C. and Lincoln offices! Our interns have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the operations of Congress and its role in our nation’s government. Should you know of a young person who would like to intern in my office, encourage them to apply.

Nebraskans Visiting Washington

Art competition The United States House of Representatives hosts an annual high school art competition. Please contact my office for more information. Here is the piece I chose this year.

“Big Ol’ Bass” By Zoë Sjuts, Bancroft-Rosalie H.S.

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Congressman Fortenberry's 2017 Year End Report  
Congressman Fortenberry's 2017 Year End Report